The city of Cologne was founded by the Romans and is one of the oldest cities in Germany. The first city that the Romans founded in the area of Germany was Trier, the center of the Roman province of Belgica. Subsequently, the conquest of the territories of the barbarian tribes continued to the north, to the lower reaches of the Rhine. 

Cologne in the Roman Empire 

The Roman military camp on the site of modern Cologne appeared in 38 BC. On the right bank of the Rhine lived barbarian tribes, with whom the Romans were constantly at war. On the left Bank lived a friendly tribe Ubiorum. In their lands, the Romans founded a military camp. It was called Oppidum Ubiorum. 

In 15 BC in Oppidum Ubiorum, in the family of the Roman General Germanic, Agrippina was born. In 49 AD, she married the Roman Emperor Claudius. Agrippina asked her husband to give Oppidum Ubiorum the status of a colony, and make it the capital of the new province of Lower Germany. Claudius agreed to this. The new town was named Colonia Agrippinensis (Colony of Agrippina). Later, the city was called simply Colonia, or Cologne. 

Cologne in the Middle Ages 

In the Middle Ages, Cologne became one of the wealthiest cities in the Holy Roman Empire. It united the disparate German principalities and cities into a single union. The site of the coronation of the Holy Roman Emperors was the city of Aachen. At the head of Cologne was the Archbishop (Elector), who had not only spiritual, but also secular power. 

The main attraction of Cologne is the Cologne Cathedral, one of the greatest masterpieces of the Gothic style of architecture. Archbishop Rainald von Dassel, who ruled in Cologne in the 12th century, was a chancellor and military commander of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. He took part in his campaign against Italy. In gratitude for this, Frederick I Barbarossa gave the relics of the Three Magi to Reinald von Dassel from one of the monasteries in Milan. This Christian shrine required the construction of a large temple. In 1248 the construction of this began. The relics of the Three Magi are located in a gilded reliquary near the altar of Cologne Cathedral. Every year, thousands of pilgrims come to worship them. 

Next to the Gothic Cologne Cathedral is an equally famous monument of the Romanesque era – the Church of St. Martin. The Benedictine abbey on the site of Roman warehouses was founded in the 10th century, and the Church of St. Martin was built in the 12th century. In the 14th century, a huge tower with a height of 84 meters was built over it. After that, the Church became known as the "Gross St. Martin". In addition to it, there are 11 other Romanesque churches in Cologne. 

The Museums of Cologne 

If you are interested in history, then in Cologne you have to visit the Roman-German Museum. Cologne and Trier are the oldest cities in Germany, founded by the Romans. In these cities there are museums dedicated to the era of the Roman Empire. In Trier, it is called the Rhenish Regional Museum. 

The Roman-German Museum in Cologne is located near Cologne Cathedral. A huge Roman-era Mosaic of Dionysus was found at this site. On three floors of the museum you can see a large number of artifacts found during excavations at the site of the Roman town. 

The Ludwig Museum has one of the world`s largest collections of contemporary art. Here you can see several dozen works by Pablo Picasso. There are his early works, paintings of the Cubist period, sculptures and ceramics. Also in the Ludwig Museum you can see an interesting collection of Russian avant-garde and a large number of works by contemporary artists. 

The Wallraf Richartz Museum has one of Europe`s largest collections of medieval paintings and drawings, including engravings by Albrecht Durer. There are also many works by Impressionists and post-Impressionists: Manet, Renoir, Sisley, Van Gogh, Pissarro and many others. 

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St. Martin Church and Cologne Cathedral - masterpieces of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in Cologne
Cologne Cathedral was founded in 1248 as one of the largest cathedrals in the history of Gothic architecture
The Church of St. Martin in Cologne was built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century
Map of the Roman city of Colonia Agrippina in the Roman-German Museum in Cologne
The main exhibit of the Roman-German Museum is a huge mosaic of Dionysius
Tombstone of Legionnaire Publicius (height 14 m) in the Roman-German Museum in Cologne
Hohenzollern Railway Bridge over the Rhine in Cologne
The Gothic tower rises above the Cologne City Hall
Cologne Cathedral is a world masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996
The height of the towers of Cologne Cathedral reaches 157 meters. It is the third tallest cathedral in the world
The relics of the Three Magi in Cologne Cathedral are a Christian shrine that thousands of pilgrims come to worship
The main nave of Cologne Cathedral, one of the largest churches in the world
The height of the spire of the Church of St. Martin in Cologne reaches 84 meters, so it became known as the Gross St. Martin
The massive walls of the main nave of the Church of St. Martin in Cologne are made in the Romanesque style
Facades of medieval houses on the Rhine embankment at the foot of the tower of the Church of St. Martin in Cologne
View of St. Martin`s Church from the tower of Cologne Cathedral
The Ludwig Museum in Cologne is one of the world`s largest collections of modern art
Painting Divers (by Fernand Leger, 1942) at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne
Painting Breakfast on the grass (Pablo Picasso, 1961) at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne
The Wallraf-Richartz Museum has one of the largest collections of medieval art, as well as Impressionism
Painting the Madonna in Roses (by Stefan Lochner, 1448) in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne
Painting of a House in the fog (by Claude Monet, 1885) in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne
Couples in love hang padlocks on the Hohenzollern Bridge as a symbol of their love. Because of this, it is also called the Bridge of Love
The Cologne Town Hall was built in 1330, but it was significantly damaged during the World War II
In this house on the Town Hall Square, Johann Farina created his famous Eau de Cologne, now here is the Perfume Museum in Cologne
Perfume Museum in Cologne, where you can get acquainted with the creation of the famous Eau de Cologne